A new monument dedicated to MLK and Coretta Scott King prompts mockery and criticism

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Backlash ensued soon after a monument meant to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King’s legacy in Boston was unveiled.

The 20-foot tall, 40-foot wide “The Embrace” statue was unveiled Friday on Boston Common, where King gave a speech on April 23, 1965, to a crowd of 22,000. The statue was inspired by a photograph of King and Scott King which captured them hugging after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

“The Embrace” sculpture, a monument to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King was unveiled at the Boston Common on January 13, 2023. Credit: Katy Rogers/MediaPunch /IPX

The art piece, designed by Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, only features the couple’s arms during the embrace and not their heads, which has sparked criticism and mockery online. Some people described it as hideous or disrespectful while others posted memes and said it resembled a sex act.

Seneca Scott, a community organizer in Oakland, California, and cousin of Scott King, told CNN the statue was insulting to his family. He previously described it as a “masturbatory metal homage” in an essay published by Compact Magazine.

“If you can look at it from all angles, and it’s probably two people hugging each other, it’s four hands. It’s not the missing heads that’s the atrocity that other people clamp onto that; it’s a stump that looked like a penis. That’s a joke,” Scott told CNN.




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